Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carrion Luggage Redux

Socks…gloves…pocketwatch…. Oh, hello!  Pardon the mess—you’ve caught Cousin Jackal in the middle of packing for a vacation.  After kicking the last of the WhateversGoingAroundItis, I’m taking the witchdoctor’s advice and giving the den a good airing out by going on an extended voyage.  I’m off tonight on the slow ferry out of Duat, then boarding a train across the Western Desert, and from there, who knows?  El Dorado, Abydos, the wastes of Thule?  …Boots…a couple of meaty bones, save those for later…scales? Those always come in handy.  Ah, but it’s Prudie Day, isn’t it?  Then let me get on with it, so I can chuck the scales in with the rest of the junk:

Letter 1:
I spent my formative years being abused before winding up in foster care.  My therapist convinced me that after many years (and payments) that I had to “let bygones be bygones”.  Now I’m at peace and my problems are behind me.  Except…my youngest sister found me, and found Mom, and is trying to get us back together.  Suddenly I don’t feel so peaced out anymore; I may puke from sheer stress.  What do I do?

Dear Lifetime Channel,
Dramamine!  What?  Oh, sorry LW1, not for you, toldja I was packing for a trip.  First of all, you’re not at peace.  You can’t be.  You’ve got baggage.  Now, that’s fine.  What worries Cousin Jackal is that you—and your therapist—seem to be under the impression that with enough therapy (read: money) your problems can go away and never bother you again.  That’s not so.  It isn’t possible.  Don’t even get Cousin Jackal started on society’s stubborn insistence that anyone with personal issues has some cockamamie obligation to “fix” them, and that anything smelling of unresolved issues makes someone less of a human being.  People who demand scripted life stories and nicely wrapped up bits of closure have watched too much Oprah.  If you’ve got a worthwhile grudge, nurse it.  Coddle it.  Hug it and pet it and love it and call it George, because properly chained and trained that grudge-puppy will keep you safe from anyone like your mother so you don’t blunder into more abusive relationships.  You don’t have to give in to your sister’s wishes for a big happy family, but you do owe her an explanation—after all, you were there getting abused while she was gone, and no doubt Mommy Dearest has been filling her head with all sorts of self-serving excuses over the past few years.  Tell her, briefly and factually, why you want nothing to do with your mother.  Make sure she understands that you want her to look out for herself and that you are not trying to make her choose between mother and sibling.  Most importantly, don’t feel worthless for having these old pains dredged up.  (Cousin Jackal, unfortunately, has walked a few miles in your shoes, but that’s a story for another day.)  Pet that grudge-puppy, look around at the good life that you’ve built, and recognize that you have won.

…Compass…pith helmet… copy of Sarah Palin’s book?  Where did that come from?  Oh hell, you never know when you’ll need toilet paper…

Letter 2:
I married my husband while he was in the middle of a midlife crisis, and he’s so thrilled to have bagged a hot twentysomething like me that he can’t stop blabbing about it to his friends.  What I don’t get is why their wives don’t like me—I mean, it’s not like I actually socialize with them, but I don’t dress provocatively so I don’t get it.  How do I make them like me?

Dear Wholesome Fuckpuppet,
Shit, you married the Video Letter Writer from last week, didn’t you?  And for the love of all the gods that never were, I wish women would stop throwing in “but I don’t dress provocatively!”  What the fuck does that mean?  It sure sounds a lot like “if I don’t like what you’re wearing then you deserve whatever bad stuff happens to you,” and you can shove that straight where the sun doesn’t shine.  But I digress… Honey, just pretend you’re all friends and do something nice for each of these women.  Bake cookies.  Admire their shoes.  Do something.  Anything.  Just for the sake of doing it.  And for fuck’s sake get some real friends your own age.  Oh, and tell your husband that if he doesn’t lay off the “hee, hee, my wife is hawt” shit, he’s going to get the tree branch.

…The tree branch!  That’s what I forgot to pack.  Good thing, too, because I need it for LW3…

Letter 3:
My husband and I are proud upstanding ‘Merkin citizens who never, ever, ever would dream of doing anything remotely unsavory.  I mean, we were both hellraisers as teenagers, but we’re totally reformed and have good normal wholesome family values now, with the clenched sphincters to prove it.  We have two small children and we are absolutely clueless as to how to delude them into thinking that we have always been perfect godlike beings, especially when my husband has a pot-related tattoo.  Please, please help me mindfuck my children!

Dear Half-Baked,
Congratulations—just when I thought today’s letters were going to bore me to tears, you’ve managed to set my very teeth on edge with the urge to rant.  Oh, where to start?  I’m going to call shenanigans over the whole “he hasn’t done anything illegal since he signed on after high school” crap.  He got a tattoo.  Of a tiger smoking a joint.  While he was in the military.  You just don’t get that sort of tattoo if you yourself don’t smoke pot.  You just don’t.  But oh, now you’ve seen The Light(™) and want to whitewash your pasts as far as your kids are concerned.  You want permission to lie.  Yes, lie, you coward.  You want your kids to think you’re superhumanly flawless.  News flash, moron: if your kids are smart, I give them until age 6 to figure out what a load of doublespeak you’re feeding them; if they’re average, maybe age 12…and then those chickens are going to come home to roost.  Forget a woman scorned, hell hath no fury like one’s offspring after they find out you’ve lied to them as part of a behavioral conditioning scheme.  They will call you hypocrite, and they will be right. 

…Parasol…opera glasses…leftover tin of whoopass…is whoopass a liquid or a gel?  Will it fit in a quart-size baggie?....

Letter 4:
I helped a lady in the supermarket by telling her that her fly was down, thus sparing her the indignity of walking around all day with her underwear exposed.  My husband said I should have just snickered and then posted her picture on FailBlog.  Who’s right?

Dear Barn Door Monitor,
Hell yes you should have told her!  Why did you even have to ask?  And why on earth did you even mention this to your husband?  How does that come up in conversation, anyway?  “What did I do today?  Well let’s see, honey, today I saved two baby raccoons from a forest fire and told a lady her fly was down.  Just saving the world as usual.  Pass the salt.”  Oh, and what’s up with your husband being an asshole?  Seriously?  You married this guy?  Hope you never get spinach in your teeth.

Well, that about does it.  The steamer trunk is full to bursting and now the only problem is figuring out how to convince the TSA that a passport written on papyrus is legit.  Have a great week!


  1. Oh bravo yet again! I love the Bugs Bunny reference. I must tell The Boy. I think this week I can smack some people around, finally. Last week was...tedious.

  2. Yay, Cousin Jackal! When you said "Pet that grudge-puppy, look around at the good life that you’ve built, and recognize that you have won", I said, Cousin Jackal is.the.shit! And I don't mean "the shit" as in literal, you know, shit (even though I know that some canine's eat shit, that's *not* what I meant), but rather the good kind of shit. Like, you know how Michael Jackson sang about being bad, but that was supposedly like actually being super good? Well, me concluding that you are the shit was, in my own way, concluding that you are super fucking good! Did that make sense?

    Also, your take on LW#3. I could feel it, Cousin. And I would like seconds. Right on!

    Happy trials and be safe and make sure that you're back here safe and sound next week because we all won't know what to do if you're not, damnit! Oh, and with pictures of your journey! :-)

  3. I absolutely agree that taking ownership of an old, deserved grudge can be a positive event. If, for instance, the LW ever happened across someone who acted goody-goody in public but let out those little signs that only someone who had lived with such a heinous person would recognize, the LW would know in an instant. They'd know to keep their own kids away from that person, to take a special interest in the other person's kids, and generally dissent when someone wanted to put the ogress in charge of anyone else's children.

    Of course, they could easily over-react and start seeing ogres everywhere, but hopefully that got cleared up in all those dollars, oops - HOURS of therapy.